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Toyota Racing's challenge in the Six Hours of Bahrain ended with an accident after an earlier technical issue had already denied the team a chance of victory in the sixth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Following the win two weeks ago in Sao Paulo, the #7 TS030 HYBRID of Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre led after two hours and looked in a very strong position. However, the lights went out on that victory bid soon after.
WEC regulations require the illuminated number on the side of a car to function throughout the race. The #7 car's panel failed on both sides, forcing the team to exchange the parts which cost seven minutes.
A charging recovery in the desert darkness took the team from sixth to third, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process.
But contact with another LMP1 car in traffic terminally damaged the suspension of the TS030 HYBRID with just over an hour remaining. Nicolas was forced to retire at the side of the track.
Earlier, in afternoon sunshine, Alex took the rolling start from third place and immediately made progress, brilliantly taking second at the first corner. He then used his speed in traffic to take the lead with 13 minutes on the clock.
Alex and Nicolas cemented the TS030 HYBRID's lead during the opening two hours as the sun set, however the illuminated number issue struck to drop the #7 down the field.
Nicolas immediately improved the fastest lap of the race as he began a charge which Alex continued, the pair steadily closing the gap on the lead Audis before the incident in traffic brought progress to an end.
TOYOTA Racing's next action comes at Fuji Speedway for the Six Hours of Mount Fuji on Sunday 14 October when Kazuki Nakajima will return to action in the #7 TS030 HYBRID, resuming his position alongside Alex and Nicolas.
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